Fields of False Dreams: Scotts Joins Forces With Major League Baseball
Having survived two of its most tumultuous years in its history, the Scott Miracle Gro company enters 2010 swinging for the fences with a new deal with Major League Baseball. In an effort to convince consumers that aspiring to a Fenway front lawn is a good thing, the world’s largest lawn care fertilizer and pesticide distributor announced plans to pump tens of millions of dollars into a marketing partnership with the most iconic teams in baseball.
“I don’t mean to get ‘Field of Dreams’-ish, but it’s a powerful emotion for consumers and really tapping into that emotion and showing off what Scotts products can do, there’s no better product showcase,” Scotts Brand Manager John Price told Reuters. Here is the full press release: http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKN2013380720100120.
The whole thing makes me cringe. Two years ago I interviewed a former groundskeeper for the Boston Red Sox, who was by then working for an organic lawn care company. He talked about the excessive amount of fungicides applied to that field to keep it emerald green in all types of weather and playing conditions. He said he was frequently “mortified” when players would come onto the field to practice, often times only minutes after a toxic product had been applied.
I have also spent time with Dave Mellor, the head groundskeeper of the Red Sox. He was a fine, gracious person and is still known as one of the best in his business. A couple of best-selling books are testament to his knowledge. But even he told me: “Homeowners need to understand that having a lawn that looks like Fenway Park in their own back yard is not a realistic expectation.”
At a time when sponsorship dollars are flat, however, Scotts’ money was just too tempting for Major League Baseball and Mellor to pass up. As co-author of a Scotts lawn book, he’ll no doubt be one of the poster boys for this new partnership.
Honestly, I don’t know how Dave Mellor sleeps at night. In his heart, he knows better.